Fisher's coaching deal has $2.5 million buyout
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State must pay offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher $2.5 million if he isn't hired to replace Bobby Bowden as head coach in three years, but Fisher would have to pay an equal amount to leave before then.
Florida State released Fisher's contract Monday after the West Virginia native was mentioned in published reports as a potential candidate to take over for Rich Rodriguez as Mountaineers coach. The buyout clause would make Fisher an expensive choice.
Rodriguez left West Virginia to take over at Michigan.
Florida State also released Bowden's one-year contract that has a nearly $2.2 million base salary, including a $200,000 signing bonus, a series of incentives that could add at least $600,000 and a $1 million "lifetime achievement" bonus upon retirement.
Bowden's contract, though, does not set a retirement date and it can be renegotiated annually.
"Taken together, we believe these two contracts insure that our football program is stable and competitive at the very highest level now and in the future," interim athletic director Bill Proctor said.
School officials on Dec. 10 announced Fisher had agreed to become Florida State's "head coach-in-waiting," but the contracts were not signed until Friday. They were released in response to public records requests by The Associated Press and other media.
The contracts keep Bowden, 78, at Florida State for at least another year -- his 33rd at the school. They also lock in Fisher as Bowden's would-be successor until Jan. 9, 2011, unless Fisher or a suitor coughs up $2.5 million.
Bowden is major college football's winningest coach with 373 career victories, including 300 at Florida State. He's two wins ahead of Penn State's Joe Paterno, who turns 81 on Dec. 21.
Fisher's present contract, which pays about $420,000, was amended to include a $200,000 raise for taking on new fundraising duties and extended by one year through Jan. 9, 2011.
Bowden's incentives are $150,000 for winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship, $250,000 for winning the national championship game, $50,000 for finishing in the top 10 of the final AP poll, $100,000 for a top-five finish and $100,000 for an undefeated season.
The contract also allows, but does not require, the athletic director to recommend and university president T.K. Wetherell to approve bonuses of up to $30,000 for playing in a non-BCS game and up to $50,000 for other preseason and postseason events.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press